BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London, joined millions of people in the world’s biggest environmental event by observing Earth Hour at 8:30pm on Saturday 29 March 2014.
Starting in New Zealand, Earth Hour made its way through a record 158 countries and territories passing all seven continents – including Australia, Asia, Europe, Africa, then to North and South America, and even to Antarctica – before it concluded in Tahiti.
Amongst the landmarks that switched off non-essential lights were Times Square and the Rockefeller Centre in New York, the India Gate in New Delhi, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and, for the first time, the Karnak Temple Complex in Luxor.
In the UK, some notable buildings including Buckingham Palace, the Gherkin, the London Eye, Trafalgar Square, St Paul’s Cathedral, and Wembley Stadium also joined in.
BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha’s is committed to going “beyond the hour in leading a greener life,” explained Yogesh Patel, a volunteer at the Mandir, adding, “This respect for nature is deeply rooted in Hindu values and teachings espoused by Bhagwan Swaminarayan and our spiritual leader Pramukh Swami Maharaj.”
Projects including a recycling event for Climate Week in 2013, the ‘Big Tidy Up’ in Brent and the cleaning of the local Brent Feeder Canal, celebrating World Environment Day, and being presented with an ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ as part of the Brent in Bloom garden competition demonstrates its commitment to raise awareness about and make a positive impact upon the local environment.
Earth Hour was also observed at BAPS Swaminarayan mandirs in North America, as well as at Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi.
About Earth Hour
Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million homes and businesses turned their lights off for one hour to make their stand against climate change.
In 2008, the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights.
In March 2009, hundreds of millions of people took part in the third Earth Hour where over 4,000 cities in 88 countries officially switched off to pledge their support for the planet.
In 2010, the global call to action had reached over 125 countries, making Earth Hour 2010 the world’s largest global climate change initiative. This increased further to 135 countries in 2011 and more than 6,950 cities in 2012.
In 2014, the number of countries joining the event has extended to 158.
Earth Hour is organised by the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF), one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations. Its mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth’s natural environment and build a future where people live in harmony with nature.